What is HIPAA?

  • Posted on: 30 March 2015
  • By: Heather

HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, public law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996 and was intended to protect health information (PHI) during its use by covered entities (anyone who handles PHI while caring for or doing business with an entity that cares for an individual). Covered entities can include, but is not limited to: Health care providers, Health Insurance companies, Debt Collection companies, Answering Services, or anyone who handles protected health information.


HIPAA set standards that had not been set before it’s enactment to protect health information. Information protected by HIPPA includes any information that could reasonably used to identify an individual such as demographic information, provisions of health care, provisions for payment of health care, an individual’s health condition or mental condition, etc.

There are two main sections of the act. Title one covers health insurance information for individuals who lose or change their jobs. Title two or Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, sets the requirements to establish national standards pertaining to a providers’, employer’s, and/ or health insurance providers’ national identifiers. 

Now, if you don’t understand all of that, that’s ok. Just remember, HIPAA sets the standards of privacy for an individual’s protected health information. Therefore, any information obtained and used while in a health situation that could be used to identify an individual is protected under this federal law.